This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
Many Sunday slates have felt pitching heavy with more difficult choices regarding hitters and an abundance of strong pitching plays. This slate flips that on its head, as there are several games in hitter-friendly parks to close out the weekend series and also plenty of players valued at exploitable points. Focus on matchups with the pitching and jam in hitters in the most advantageous spots.
Cristian Javier ($9,200) might be the best combination of skill and matchup on the slate. He joins Freddy Peralta as the only other Sunday hurler to post a 30-percent strikeout rate for the season. Meanwhile, the Rangers aren't a particularly formidable foe and strike out the fourth-highest as a team against right-handed pitching.
Max Fried ($8,600) has been inconsistent from both a skills and results perspective this season, which makes it easy to glance over his name. What should draw us in is his matchup against the Pirates. Fried has shown flashes of brilliance this season including his last start when he allowed one earned run across six innings while striking out eight and walking two, and Sunday's matchup should give him a strong opportunity to show more.
While we're discussing pedigree and recent form, there may be no better player to highlight other than Casey Mize ($7,000). He's been a tough evaluation this season, as his surface numbers are strong (3.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), yet his skills scream he hasn't deserved those results (7.9 K-BB%, 4.76 SIERA). That has me teetering on the edge of recommending Mize versus relying on the skills and steering clear. To make that decision, I'll use matchup as a tiebreaker. Kansas City isn't a strikeout prone lineup, though they also have only a 91 wRC+ as a team against right-handed pitching this season. I'm tentatively in.
J.A. Happ is a bottom-of-the-barrel pitcher on the slate by nearly any skills indicator fantasy managers prefer. That causes me to zero in on Cleveland and Jose Ramirez ($5,600), who's produced a .346 wOBA and 120 wRC+ against southpaws this season.
Let's target another subpar left-hander in Dallas Keuchel. Though less critiqued for his poor performances as compared to Happ, Keuchel has been nearly as poor from both a skills and results perspective. The Yankees provide more stars to choose from than Cleveland, yet Aaron Judge ($5,200) still stands out as a building block piece.
Jazz Chisholm ($4,400) is an easy player to roster and gravitate towards due to his exciting style of play. However, rostering him goes well beyond that as Jordan Yamamoto has struggled in both the majors and at Triple-A this season. The Marlins are worth considering in a contrarian/leverage stack on this slate, although they miss the cut to feature here.
Luis Castillo showed signs of turning things around in his last outing, but that isn't enough to make me avoid hitters at Great American Ballpark. None of the Brewers are really valued up, but Avisail Garcia ($2,900) stands out as a potential value.
Speaking of strong hitting environments, Lourdes Gurriel ($3,100) will have a home matchup against Tampa Bay. While he's been a disappointment to this point, he's still collected five multi-hit performances over his last six games. Gurriel's salary has also yet to catch up to that recent form and therefore makes a fine play.
Alec Bohm ($3,200) has been really disappointing this season. However, when he's produced, it's largely been against left-handed pitching. He draws a matchup against Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been solid but hittable this season. Bohm's valuation remains low, so utilize this opportunity for salary relief in yet another positive park for home runs.
The Gleyber Torres ($3,500) hate has gone too far. Factor in the excellent matchup that was already highlighted and he's a tremendous value.
Stacks to Target
This stack continues to combine all the themes we've hoped to hit on this slate. Matt Harvey has limited home runs this season, though that's about the only thing he's done well to this point. The rest of his skills have been very uninspiring, highlighted by a 9.6 K-BB% and 4.81 SIERA. As for the Nationals stack, fitting players in should be fairly easy from a salary perspective with lower cost options such as Castro. With enough savings elsewhere, rostering both Trea Turner and Soto could work, though that could be difficult. In builds where rostering only one is possible, Soto is my preference.
The Astros have been a profitable team to stack all season and Sunday should be no different. Of course, this suggestion doesn't include stars such as Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman, but both are excellent plays. There are many ways there to go, but Alvarez and Gurriel would be centerpieces in my builds.
The Yankees stack might be my favorite of all on the slate. While Judge comes at no discount, the rest of their hitters really won't be difficult to play from a salary perspective. The matchup and park have already been discussed, so the core reasons for playing this trio are in place.